Weddings are conventionally thought of as large, expensive celebrations with hundreds of guests. People usually envision live bands, entertainment, and plenty of catered food.
But, weddings don’t always have to be enormous (or expensive) to be an unforgettable moment in your life.
A small group of family and friends at a quiet location can be just as memorable.
The average cost of a wedding is over $35,000. Not in your budget? You might want to downsize because there’s no point in having a huge wedding just for the sake of it.
Read on to learn about the best ways to go about planning a small wedding for you and your significant other.
1. Keep the Budget Small
One of the most efficient ways to keep your wedding small is to set a limit on your budget.
However, “small” is a relative term when considering wedding size and budget. Your definition of small depends on your income and your future spouse’s income.
It also depends on the size of both of your families and how extensive your respective friend groups are. Once you’ve figured out just what “small” means, you can begin to plan for it.
For the average couple, $35,000+ to spend on a wedding is a significant amount of money. That doesn’t even include the honeymoon!
Setting your budget far lower than this number will force you to put a lot of thought into everything that you plan for your special day.
2. Put a Limit on the Guest List
A small wedding isn’t going to be very small if 200 people show up, especially if the venue isn’t very large.
You should only invite the friends and family with whom you are closest. Acquaintances and other non-essential attendees (sorry, Uncle Frank) might have to miss out on your wedding.
They will fill up your guest list and pressure you to accommodate them all at once, which can add even more stress to the process of planning a small wedding.
Trimming down the guest list isn’t always easy, however. Both you and your soon-to-be spouse may have a large group of people who you absolutely have to invite.
A smaller guest list will help you keep a lower budget, too, and we all love to save money.
3. Choose Unconventional Locations
A wedding doesn’t have to take place in an enormous church with every pew packed with guests. Unconventional location choices are limitless. It can be anywhere that means something to you.
It could be a private beach, a cliffside that overlooks the waves, or the restaurant where the two of you first met. Some people even get married at national parks!
Places like this will also impress your guests, too. They’ll be excited to visit somewhere unexpected.
The best part about choosing an unconventional location on a small budget is that it can be local.
Sometimes, family and friends are unable to extensively travel to be present. Somewhere close will provide a much greater chance that they can attend.
If you’re looking to save even more money, booking in the off season is a great way to pinch some extra pennies.
4. Get Rid of What You Don’t Need
This sounds vague, but it’s self-explanatory. Anything you don’t need for the wedding, don’t get it.
This could include a full bar, a florist, and plenty of other services that are really just extra money.
You don’t need a full bar, any sort of alcohol (as long as there is enough) will suffice. You can also make floral arrangements yourself by researching online.
Consider foregoing other traditions like wedding programs, linen tablecloth, or even the guestbook.
Wedding photographers are always a great asset to have, but you don’t have to hire one. An experienced friend or family member with a good camera can perform the role just as efficiently.
You’ll thank yourself for all of the items you crossed off the list. It’ll save you time, money, and stress.
But, planning a small wedding can still be tough.
If the stress happens to be too much, you may want to consider hiring a wedding planner to assist you.
5. Keep Everything Else Small
When planning a small wedding, you already know that you need to keep your budget and guest list small. But, everything else should be minimal, as well.
Without a large group of people to entertain, there’s a lot about a wedding that you can eliminate right out of the gate.
This means no extravagant decorations, no large, rocking wedding band, and no excessive wedding favors.
Your wedding day is about just that: Your wedding. It doesn’t have to be an occasion to spend thousands of dollars on stuff that most of your guests may not even notice or care about.
Besides, if you choose a location that is suitable for a small wedding, you won’t have room for that extra stuff, anyway.
6. Start Planning a Small Wedding Early
The more time you give yourself to plan for your wedding, the closer it will be to what you envision.
Just because your wedding is small doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put some serious effort into planning for it.
Most people plan their weddings over a year in advance. Even though you will most likely only be looking into smaller venues, it is still important to be vigilant when booking them.
Some places may be popular for events and weddings, and it may be months before they have an open slot for you.
While a large wedding may seem like the dream occasion for many couples, there are plenty of benefits that small weddings can provide.
It’s not just a lower cost, either.
One of the most important benefits is that you’ll actually be able to see and interact with the people who showed up to help you celebrate. At larger weddings, some guests may only see the bride and groom when they walk down the aisle.
A smaller wedding is more intimate, and the guests who attend will be more involved than they would be at a huge wedding.
Still not sure what else you need to plan your special day? Check out our blog to learn more.